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Measuring Crime Reported to Law Enforcement using NIBRS Data

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2022

This podcast episode features a conversation between host Meredith Tibbetts and Edward Abraham, the unit chief of the Crime and Law Enforcement Statistics Unit at the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, and Erica Smith, who oversees the law enforcement incident-based statistics unit at the Bureau of Justice Statistics.


In this Justice Today episode, host Meredith Tibbetts interviews Edward Abraham and Erica Smith about the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which was developed in the 1980s to meet the needs of law enforcement in the 21st century and to improve the overall quality of crime data that is collected by law enforcement. NIBRS collects more offenses and more detailed data on each crime occurrence than does the traditional summary reporting system (SRS), and has the ability to provide circumstances and context for crimes, as well as whether or not the incident was cleared. Additionally, NIBRS provides greater analytic flexibility than SRS. The podcasters discuss the challenges of transitioning to NIBRS, which has been a setback for some agencies, and the measures that the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program has taken, including partnering with the Bureau of Justice Statistics on the National Crime Statistics Exchange, and working with advocacy groups. They discuss how NIBRS enriches the quality, quantity, and timeliness of crime data collected by law enforcement; and note that their goal as NIBRS coverage increases and more agencies join, is to be able to increase the precision of the crime estimates.

Date Published: October 1, 2022